Saturday, April 19, 2014

Old stuff

The warm weather this week put me in the mood to break ground. I went out a few days ago to till up a spot at the back of the fence.
The tiller sprang to life but then coughed and sputtered as if it had mechanical emphysema. I stepped to the shed to fetch my tools and cleaned the spark plug but when I tried to crank it I got the same result.
I checked gas, cleaned the filters and kicked the tires a couple time just to show I meant business, but
This is not my first planting season so I knew it was the old gum in the carburetor routine. My tiller is so old that Methuselah bought it used from an antique dealer and sold it for scrap to an ancestor (150 generations back) of the gentleman who sold it to me.
I've been using my local parts supplier for many years. Some of the parts they stock are marked with hieroglyphics instead of part numbers, so I felt sure they'd have a carburetor for my tiller.
When I walked in yesterday and asked for a rebuild kit or a replacement carburetor, the clerk asked for the model of the tiller. When I told him,  he and the guy a few registers down snickered audibly....which is NEVER a good sign.
That usually means that the price of the part is way beyond what I could get by knocking off a liquor store....I'd would have to donate a kidney.
When he told me they could have one of their old machinists build me a new carburetor, I walked out shaking my head.
I brooded about it for a while, but then I decided to have a shot at working on the carb myself. What could it hurt.
So after coffee and our morning walk, I put on my coveralls, fetched my tools and set to work. I removed the carb, disassembled and gently cleaned it as if it were a newborn baby that wasn't allergic to cleaning fluid.
When I put it back together and reinstalled it on the tiller, I had no idea if it would work or not. I filled the tank with gas, crossed my fingers, and pulled the crank-cord. It sprang to life and ran as solid as the day the cavemen built it. I was so happy, the twirling tines tossed freshly tilled earth into my teeth.
It feels good to fix something that not even I thought could be fixed


  1. When you put on your coveralls I knew there would be a garden tilled this day.

  2. I cannot believe you called that new machine an antique. Mine is a Merry Tiller! Older than the dirt it turns. Yep, all they need is a little TLC. They take a licking and keep on tilling.

    Hope you get some good maters! Enjoyed the read!!!

  3. Yeah, nothing feels better than the sound of a running tiller ready to eat up some dirt. I had one for years we bought from TG&Y It literally beat the snot out of me when I used it but The Hubby bought me a small electric one for my now smaller garden. It is AWESOME. Note: The son-in-law now has the TG&Y special and it still runs great (it's at least 36 years old).

  4. I always get mad when something that's only used for a season...maybe even once a year, breaks down. But I then I remember the saying "use it or lose it". That goes for our bodies too! Jack's old John Deere is giving him fits. He and our son have done everything but an exorcism to get it running. He's going for one last "Hail Mary"....getting an actual mechanic. Enjoy your weekend and the smell of fresh tilled dirt!

  5. And it feels hopeful to know someone has ground warm enough to till.

  6. Wow!! That's so awesome! You are so fortunate to know what to do!

  7. Don't you just love it when that happens? I know I do and the feeling I get can last for days...even longer! Nice won!

  8. Your tiller is so old that Methuselah bought it used from an antique dealer and sold it for scrap to an ancestor (150 generations back) of the gentleman who sold it to you?

    Sometimes I know what your tiller must feel like.


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